On entry of Macbeth, we notice a dramatic change in his personality as he seems to be in control of the situation. It is to be noted that it is initial foretaste of Macbeth’s ruthlessness in scenes to follow.
After the exchange of pleasantries, when Macduff goes on to awaken the king, the interval is used by Shakespeare to describe the stormy night. Lennox describes the night of the regicide as unruly, with chimneys blown down; lamenting heard, owl shrieking and earth shaking. Macbeth admits : ‘ ’Twas a rough night’.
On Macduff’s returns the horrid news of regicide was announced, ‘Confusion now hath made his masterpiece most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope . The lord’s anointed temple, and stole thence/ The life of the building’. Macbeth tried to teriporise by saying ‘what is’t you say the life’. They were advised by Macbeth to approach the chamber themselves and destroy their sight with a new Gorgon while alarum bell was ring to awaken others.
It is at this point that Lady Macbeth makes here grand appearance, being in full control as she had intended to ‘Show (her) grief and clamors roar upon his death';. It is ironic that Macduff tried to hide the news from Lady Macbeth for he believed that the news was not meant for a woman’s ears. He simply stated to Banquo : ‘O Banquo, Banquo, our royal master’s murdered’ Hearing this Lady Macbeth exclaimed. ‘Woe, alas! What, in our house’ to which Banquo sincerely replied: ‘Too cruel anywhere’.
On re-entering, Macbeth began with a rousing eulogy for a man he had just murdered for he says : ‘Had I died an hour before this chance/ I had lived a blessed live’ and that ‘The wine of life is drawn, and the mere less/ Is left the vault to brag of’. Such, a response proves Malcolm’s later statement to be correct: 'To show unfelt sorrow is an office that a false man does easy’.
The discovery was followed by news of Macbeth killing the kings’ alleged assassins – the chamberlains. Macbeth’s justification was that ‘The expedition of my violent love outrun the pauser reason’.
This was a new development in the plot of which even Lady Macbeth, the chief architect of the plan was unware of seeing the transparency of Macbeth’s actions, Lady Macbeth fainted as she gave in to her femine nature. Perhaps, this could also be a stage managed event by nor to prevent her husband betraying himself any further.
However, her fainting served the purpose for Banquo took the charge to break the meeting and meet later to ‘question this most bloody piece of work to know it further’. At last, Malcolm and Donalbain were left on the stage who decided to flee to England and Ireland respectively for they understood discretion is the better part of valour. The scene ended with their galloping away in the view of their safety.
It is to be noted that nobles of Scottand were genuine in their experession of horror, Macbeth on other hand had a false response. However, Macbeth’s expression of grief is dramatically ironic : ‘Had I died an hour before this chance/ I had lived a blessed time’ For it is not only expressed in conventional terms but also accounts for Macbeth’s overwhelming consciousness of the sin.